Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: Wanted - A Wife
Here's an interesting strip that ran in the Boston Post from May 15 through August 27 1913. It was created by H. Boyleston Dummer, a cartoonist who usually specialized in animals. He occasionally popped up in Boston newspapers (mainly the Post and the Monitor), and ended up making a small name for himself as a children's book author and illustrator.
Dummer was out of his element here, and though the strip was snappily drawn, it was turned over to the Post's sports cartoonist, who signed himself Scott, on May 26. I suspect that this might be R. J. Scott, who later went on to to do the long running Scott's Scrapbook, a Ripleys' clone. I have no proof of this, just a guess. I haven't been able to put my hands on any biographical material for R.J. Scott, so I'm at a loss there.
Scott continued the series ably, with a very different but excellent style, doing occasional strips in addition to his regular duties on the sports page.
Two more Dummer strips were printed in July, probably old stock, and then Scott did just a handful more of the series, petering out at the end of August.
PS - Sorry for the overly small images - Blogger compressed them on me. Don't shoot the messenger ... er ... poster.
The timing might be right for R.J. Scott to have been the artist, but I've got a couple of things that might argue against it. First, the signature doesn't look like Scott's. Second, I'm pretty sure R.J. Scott worked for the Cleveland Leader during the 1910s and may have gone from there to the Central Press Association, also in Cleveland. (He was art editor there in 1930.) I'm trying to connect R.J. Scott to Roland J. Scott, a newspaper cartoonist in Anderson, Ind., Indianapolis, and Chicago during the early 1900s. I'm pretty sure they're the same cartoonist, but I don't have anything definitive. Also, I'm trying to find out what happened to R.J. Scott. He may have died in 1966. That's when Sally's Sallies and Scott's Scrapbook came to an end. Do you know anything about him? Thanks.
I checked my files and didn't find anything on Roland Scott, so I'm afraid I'm no help there.
I have to disagree with one point -- the signatures of this Scott and R.J. are stylistically pretty exact matches.
Both Sally's Sallies and Scott's Scrapbook seemed to have expired on 7/1/67.
We're certainly very interested in any information you can impart. As said above, our biographical info on Scott is practically non-existent, which is very odd for someone who had such a long and successful career. Do you have a birth date? Work history (especially before Scott's Scrapbook)? Any idea why there seems to be a dearth of info about him?
R.J. Scott was born September 1, 1886 in Indianapolis, Indiana to John Scott (of Scottish decent) and Elizabeth Buzzy (of German decent) He died in Scottsdale, AZ on April 4 1968.
He was married to his first wife, Minnie Laird, on or about 1912. He had one son, Laird Scott. R.J. lived in Cleveland Ohio, New York City, and Long Island. He moved to Tempe, AZ in the 1930's where Minnie's brother was mayor of Tempe for about 20 years.
There is a reference in Jerry Robinson's book The Comics to a panel cartoon called "Did you know?" by R.J. Scott. (dad thinks this may have been a precursor to Scott's Scrapbook?)
Dad believes he also did some political cartoons during WWI and is looking for some examples.
Scott's last contracts were through King and dad has a call out to them to see if they know of any other works.
As to the dearth of info about him, Syracuse University asked him to write his life history for the art department. However, he died before he was able to complete the project. I'll let you know if I find out any more information. If you have any other questions I'll do my best to find answers.
Thanks so much for the info! Yes, "Did You Know?" was the original title of "Scott's Scrapbook" -- it ran under that title from 1931-33, but some newspapers used the title much longer because they didn't bother to change the masthead for the panel.
So it sounds like R.J. didn't spend any time in Boston. I guess the Scott on "Wanted-A Wife" is someone else. Those signatures sure do seem to match up tho!
Besides Scott's Scrapbook and Sally's Sallies, the only other series I know of done by R.J. Scott are a few short-run biography strips he did for Central Press - Edison, Lon Chaney and Max Schmeling were profiled. I'll post samples of those one of these days.